The 49ers face the Seahawks in a pivotal NFC West showdown this weekend, but it's Jim Harbaugh getting the pregame press. The 49ers head coach is featured on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated's December 2013 issue:
It's Harbaugh's second SI cover as head coach of the 49ers, as he appeared alongside his brother, John Harbaugh, prior to Super Bowl XLVII.
The feature article on Harbaugh, written by Austin Murphy, focuses on humanizing the "fiery" coach.
“Since becoming an NFL head coach, Harbaugh has walled off that calm side of himself when dealing with the public. His demeanor during press conferences is often defensive, adversarial,” Murphy writes. “When asked about his attitude, Harbaugh explained, ‘I’m not trying to be a jerk. It’s just I’m more serious about winning, you know?”
Murphy also chronicles Harbaugh’s unlikely source of inspiration: Piura, a northern city in Peru.
“Every year Harbaugh is startled anew by the abject poverty in Piura. Every year he is inspired anew — ‘transformed,’ he says — by the joy and generosity of the locals, in the face of that poverty,” writes Murphy. “‘Something I learned down there,’ Harbaugh says. ‘They believe it’s a sin to give in to discouragement, to give up hope.’”